HK to blame for continued dictatorship


Wang Zhenmin, the top legal official at Beijing’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, speaks to the United Front-linked Asia Pacific Law Association. He acknowledges that the Office meddled in the recent Legislative Council election (rather disastrously, though he doesn’t dwell on it). And he makes the predictable thunderous mouth-frothing denunciations of Hong Kong independence, saying it is totally impossible for a thousand years but since you ask would cause apocalyptic doom to Hong Kong itself while the rest of China would barely notice, so there. Complete with garbled ‘illness’ metaphor.

The Chinese Communist Party does not do public contrition, so we would not expect Wang to suggest that Beijing should perhaps revise its attitude to Hong Kong – listen more and hysterically freak out less. And sure enough, he sticks to the standard script, while introducing and emphasizing some refinements to the official argument.

The Communist Party is infallible, so anything that goes wrong must be someone else’s fault. Officials have previously blamed dissatisfaction in Hong Kong on local people’s ignorance (of China, the Basic Law, or whatever) or on evil hostile foreign forces. The rise of localism has recently prompted the development of a slightly different line: Hong Kong people are unhappy/frustrated/resentful because of Mainland China’s economic rise. There is no logic to it, but it neatly avoids any recognition that Beijing has screwed up with its feudalistic ‘big brother’ attitude.

Are Beijing’s people seriously in denial, or are they just saying this sort of thing to keep up appearances and make themselves feel better? We get a hint that they suspect, deep down, that Hong Kong’s anger might be connected with governance and political process when Wang starts talking about democracy…

…he said if Hongkongers produced a version of democracy that included violence and separatism then mainlanders would not dare develop democratic politics. [Standard]

This is a cunning and subtle spin, by Communist Party standards. He is implying that China’s leadership yearns to abandon absolute control and introduce representative government, but Hong Kong people could ruin it all, and put Mainlanders off the idea, by demanding the wrong/icky/violent sort of democracy. So it would all be Hong Kong’s fault! Naughty Hong Kong – making Chinese people prefer an oppressive and corrupt one-party dictatorship. You should all go home and feel very very guilty.

You have to hand it to Wang for sheer audacity. But the fact that he thinks this relatively ingenious and manipulative argument might work suggests that the Communists are indeed as delusional as ever.

I declare the weekend open with a public health/dubious taste warning to avoid Wanchai Road until the latest culinary nightmare is sorted out…



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7 Responses to HK to blame for continued dictatorship

  1. LRE says:

    For a legal chief, Wang Zhenmin’s not very good at reading laws, is he?
    He reckons its normal for Beijing to want to intervene in Hong Kong elections whereas the Basic Law explicitly says it’s illegal. And he reckons the Basic Law doesn’t have self determination in it when it does – but perhaps reading all the way up to article 39 and then having to read the ICCPR is too much to expect given that he still hasn’t made it as far as article 22.

  2. As I was getting my law degree, I attended a talk by a Mainland law expert, at City University, always funny because Mainland and Law is like shit and sugar. There’s nothing more delightful than seeing these Communist zealots sweat as they try to reconcile naked despotism and the rule of law. I laughed so much, he nearly threw me out. Titters always beat demonstrations.

  3. Peter Call says:

    @LRE I once mentioned in the SCMP comments that under the Basic Law, Hong Kong has the right to self determination by virtue of it being in the ICCPR. There is some tacit acknowledgement to that since candidates advocating self determination rather than independence were allowed to run in the Legco election and even allowed to mention self determination in their political ads.

    However another commenter in the SCMP comments claimed that only “parts” of the ICCPR that are in codified local legislation apply to HK. Any truth to that comment? I find it a rather dubious comment because the UN claims that any reservations on the ICCPR back in 1976 are not legitimate because HK has elections which renders such reservations void.

  4. Cassowary says:

    The parallels between the tactics used by authoritarian regimes and abusive spouses are remarkable. The excuses. The gaslighting. The victim-blaming. “Look what you made me do!”

    Today, the gaslighting continues apace. They’ve dredged up some storage industry spokesbot to say that it is only normal and natural and sensible and rational to evict people than to relocate a storage yard. People have legs but goods are heavy!

  5. reductio says:

    Don’t know why the “the independence people” (pace Alan Partridge) wave the old HK flags. Holding Mongolian flags aloft would be sending a more in-your-face message wouldn’t it?

  6. LRE says:

    @Peter Call
    “The provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and international labour conventions as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

    The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents shall not be restricted unless as prescribed by law. Such restrictions shall not contravene the provisions of the preceding paragraph of this Article.”

    It’s a bit tricksy — your SCMP chap is arguing the communist side of the interpretation — however, HK is a common law + rule of law place (unlike certain places), and as the UK signed, ratified and put into force the ICCPR in 1976, I would say that the whole of the ICCPR was legally applied to Hong Kong for 21 years prior to handover… and as the Basic Flaw does not (contrary to your SCMP commentator’s interpretation) explicitly say that the articles of the ICCPR (or ICESCR) have to be codified in Hong Kong law — merely that they have to be implemented using said laws, the Basic Flaw doesn’t actually limit the provisions of the ICCPR in any way (indeed according to the UN only 2 articles of the ICCPR are deemed “optional”, neither of which cover self-determination and both of which were — I believe — applied to Hong Kong).

    The only thing the CPC can truly lean on in the Basic Flaw that’s against self-determination is the historically inaccurate (and therefore manifestly untrue) Article 1 “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China.” But again that’s an “is” not an “is forever”, and the article has Hong Kong’s history flipping it the bird behind it’s back.

  7. Peter Call says:

    Excellent comment LRE. You’re completely correct. Ah it’s so refreshing to see such comments.

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